The Army has awarded the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan $10 million dollars to develop this bat-inspired spy plane. The flying mammal plane would "gather data from sights, sounds and smells in urban combat zones and transmit information back to a soldier in real time." Among the top developmental priorities are microelectronics for the 6" spy plane.
They will develop sensors, communication tools and batteries for this micro-aerial vehicle that's been dubbed "the bat." Engineers envision tiny cameras for stereo vision, an array of mini microphones that could home in on sounds from different directions, and small detectors for nuclear radiation and poisonous gases. Low-power miniaturized radar and a very sensitive navigation system would help the bat find its way at night. Energy scavenging from solar, wind, vibration and other sources would recharge the bat's lithium battery. The aircraft would use radio to send signals back to troops.
Awesome, I hope it actually happens. Otherwise that's a lot of money down the drain for a work bench covered with scrap metal and electronic parts. Say, does anybody know how I can score one of these $10 million Army grants? I've got a great idea for urban combat reconnaissance missions. It's called me in a trenchcoat with a spy camera bow-tie.
A closeup render of the bat's head area after the jump.
Thanks to Anthony, who is both a spy and a plane owner, for the tip